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  • Raoul Dufy
    Jun 3, 1877 - Mar 23, 1953
  • The Promenade by the Sea - Raoul Dufy was a French artist and designer whose paintings and prints portrayed leisure activities and urban landscapes. His distinctive style is characterized by bright colours thinly spread over a white ground, with objects sketchily delineated by sensuously undulating lines. Dufy took as his subjects scenes of recreation and spectacle, including horse races, regattas, parades, and concerts.
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The Promenade by the Sea
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  • The Promenade by the Sea

  • Raoul Dufy
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  • La promenade au bord de la mer, circa 1924
    Oil on canvas
    23 3/4 x 28 3/4 in. (60.3 x 73 cm.)

    Painted in circa 1924, La promenade au bord de la mer, depicts one of the most popular themes in the work of Raoul Dufy. A native of Normandy – Dufy was born in Le Havre – the artist had been painting Sainte-Adresse since his early career. La promenade au bord de la mer, captures a scene seemingly from the end of summer: under a mercurial sky, a few passers-by have stopped to contemplate some boats, floating on a menacing sea. Using broad brushstrokes of green, blue and grey, Dufy has managed to depict the deep, somber tones of agitated waters, as well as the menacing icy light of a volatile sky.

    In 1905, the Fauvist exploit at the Salon d’Automne had strongly impressed the young Dufy, who embraced colours and flowing lines following the example of Henri Matisse. It was, however, Albert Marquet who showed Dufy the path towards Fauvism: the two artists spent the summer of 1906 painting together in Le Havre, Trouville and Honfleur, portraying, among other subjects, Sainte-Adresse.

    By the time Dufy painted La promenade au bord de la mer, in the 1920s, however, he had found his own style: brilliant and direct colours are combined with simplified figures and schematic compositions, which vividly evoke the lively narratives of modern life. Perhaps commenting on the development of his own style, in one of his notebooks Dufy had observed: ‘One may paint from nature throughout one’s life, but one may also accept that, having learned by years of practice which have shown us all the outward appearances that things can assume, and having discovered, through analysis and reflection, the main cause behind the phenomena of light and colour (…) you have been able to establish a system for yourself that enables you to express yourself, brush in hand, without being forced constantly to go back and check each individual thing checked so often before’ (Handwritten note, quoted in D. Perez-Tibi, Dufy, London, 1989, p.139).

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Other paintings by Raoul Dufy:

Standing Nude (Nu debout)
Standing Nude (Nu debout)
View of Paris
View of Paris
The Bell Tower (Church of St Vincent in Le Havre)
The Bell Tower (Church of St Vincent in Le Havre)
The Ball (Le Bal)
The Ball (Le Bal)
Raoul DufyRaoul Dufy was a French artist and designer whose paintings and prints portrayed leisure activities and urban landscapes. He created airy washes of light and shade, into which he would draw bold calligraphic brushstrokes. The artist's experimental use of color was influenced both by Claude Monet and his Fauvist peer Henri Matisse. “Blue is the only color which maintains its own character in all its tones it will always stay blue,” the artist mused. “Whereas yellow is blackened in its shades, and fades away when lightened; red when darkened becomes brown, and diluted with white is no longer red, but another color—pink.” Born June 3, 1877 in Le Havre, France, he enrolled in night classes at the École des Beaux-Arts before studying under Léon Bonnat at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts on a scholarship. Dufy first encountered Fauvism at the Salon des Indépendants in 1905, after which he adapted the style to serve his own artistic purposes. During his life, the artist traveled both abroad and within France, painting views of the Mediterranean city of Nice, as well as scenes of horse races and regattas. Throughout the 1920s, Dufy worked in a variety of materials, producing ceramics, tapestry hangings, and large-scale architectural decorations. His commission for the 26th Venice Biennale won him the International Grand Prix for painting in 1952, a year before his death on March 23, 1953 in Forcalquier, France. Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago.